“Did Maimonides Really Say That? The Widespread Claim That He Condoned Wife-Battering May Be Mistaken From Journal of Religion & Abuse 6/3–4 (2005). By Rabbi David E. S. Stein.



That the famous Rabbi Moses Maimonides (Egypt, 1178) condoned—or even recommended—spousal abuse has been widely reported. The claim involves one sentence in his writings (Ishut § 21.10a). The present article finds that the standard interpretation of this passage ignores the text’s řgures of speech, the case dynamics, the issue’s legal history, and the literary context. The author finds unconvincing the published “proof” that medieval legal experts read the passage literally. The article concludes by pondering the meaning of the standard view’s popularity.



© 2005 by The Haworth Press, Inc. The author is permitted “downloading to colleagues for the advancement of scientific research [but] not for either commercial (for-profit) or systematic third-party sales or dissemination.” For all other uses, please purchase the article via the Haworth Press article search page, searching for “Maimonides” in the title.



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Updated 2 November 2009Culver City, California, USA